What drove Ravens’ Dez Bryant in unlikely comeback? His daughter – Baltimore Ravens Weblog

BALTIMORE — When the Baltimore Ravens play host to the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday evening (8:05 p.m. ET, Fox), many will say that is the true purpose Dez Bryant returned to the NFL, an opportunity to indicate his former workforce how a lot he has left three years after his launch.

Whereas this reunion will resonate greater than different video games for Bryant, what has pushed him in an unprecedented comeback for a three-time Professional Bowl huge receiver has been one thing extra private. He did not undergo two tryouts with the Ravens and spend 4 weeks on the apply squad due to revenge. Bryant continued on this humbling route again to the NFL as a result of he did not have a solution to 1 essential query.

Throughout his two years out of soccer, his 5-year-old daughter Isabella often requested him on Sundays within the fall: “Why are you not taking part in soccer?”

Bryant saved ignoring her till he realized there wasn’t a proof. He is 32. He is wholesome. He no means misplaced the will to compete, win and seize a Tremendous Bowl.

“You understand what, child,” Bryant informed his daughter. “I’ll give it a go.”

These near Bryant mentioned this sparked extra want for him to get again to the NFL. He started coaching three to 4 occasions per week along with his private coach, engaged on every little thing from his footwork in route operating to his arm mechanics in catching the ball.

Bryant was making an attempt to perform one thing that had been completed solely as soon as beforehand because the 1970 merger — a Professional Bowl huge receiver returning to the NFL after lacking two full seasons. The distinction is Josh Gordon was given again his beginning job instantly when he got here again to the Cleveland Browns in 2017. Bryant knew he needed to earn every little thing.



Dez Bryant hauls in some good catches throughout a exercise.

It took Bryant two tryouts to persuade the Ravens to provide him a spot on the apply squad. After leaving an August tryout with Baltimore with no contract, Bryant returned two months later in higher bodily situation and landed a cope with no signing bonus or ensures. Bryant tweeted: “My feelings operating excessive proper now… I’m grateful… I can’t cease crying.”

As a part of the apply squad, Bryant earned $7,058 in his first week — a far cry from the $32 million assured he acquired 5 years in the past. He additionally did not sport his signature No. 88 jersey in his first apply. Engaged on the scout workforce, Bryant wore No. 11 as a result of he was standing in for Steelers huge receiver Chase Claypool (who was 16 when Bryant led the NFL in landing receptions in 2014).

Why would Bryant undergo this unglamorous course of?

“He’s simply on a mission to show all people that he’s nonetheless Dez Bryant,” mentioned David Robinson, Bryant’s private huge receiver coach. “He mentioned he felt like his outdated self. He seems like he’s again so far as getting his rhythm again. He mentioned he simply has to proceed to develop chemistry with the quarterback and study the playbook lots higher. He undoubtedly feels that he may also help the Ravens much more than what they anticipate.”

By the top of his eight-year run in Dallas, Bryant had been labeled some as egocentric and a malcontent within the locker room. In his time in Baltimore, he has made it recognized that he’s workforce first, a large receiver who’s as dedicated to run blocking as receptions.

Final month, Bryant was elevated off the apply squad and performed in his first recreation in 1,043 days and acquired on the sphere for less than two snaps. After the sport, Bryant tweeted concerning the victory and never his taking part in time.

“He desires to win a Tremendous Bowl,” Robinson mentioned. “I imply, that’s actually what he desires proper now. He doesn’t actually care concerning the stats, 1,000 yards, touchdowns. He simply desires to assist the workforce win in any means he can. He’s in a complete totally different mindset proper now.”

Bryant has caught 535 passes in his profession for 7,487 yards. His 73 landing catches are essentially the most in Cowboys historical past and rank 40th in NFL historical past.

The place success has eluded him is within the playoffs. Many keep in mind Bryant’s controversial “no catch” name within the 2014 postseason in Inexperienced Bay. What many overlook was it was one in all Bryant’s two appearances within the playoffs.

Bryant understands this might signify his ultimate probability at a championship run.

“It’s just like the competitors type of turned up as soon as he stepped within the constructing,” Ravens quarterback Hint McSorley mentioned. “The usual he holds himself to, and he simply type of purchased in, and it looks like he brings guys together with him. How aggressive he’s, his optimistic perspective and every little thing he does, I feel it’s been a terrific impact on the remainder of our workforce. [I’m] undoubtedly excited to have him with us, and [I’m] wanting ahead to having the ability to get him a bit bit extra concerned the place we are able to.”

Bryant hasn’t been given a lot of an opportunity to assist the NFL’s 31st-ranked passing offense. In three video games, Bryant has made 4 catches for 28 yards. He was beginning to discover a rapport with Lamar Jackson two weeks in the past, however he was held with no catch final recreation when Robert Griffin III crammed in for Jackson, who had examined optimistic for COVID-19.

“I really feel good bodily,” mentioned Bryant, who was signed to the Ravens’ 53-man roster final week. “I feel the coaches, they’re doing what they really feel is greatest for me, as a result of generally I feel I can chew off greater than I can chew. However no matter they’ve for me, I’m going to be ready for it. I’m excited. I’m going to let the coaches do what they really feel is greatest, and I’m simply going to comply with their lead.”

CBS analyst Tony Romo, who threw passes to Bryant when he quarterbacked the Cowboys, believes Bryant fills a void for Baltimore. Romo mentioned the Ravens want a bodily huge receiver like Bryant who could make contested catches.

“The catch radius is absolutely his present,” Romo mentioned. “He has a very huge space you’ll be able to throw it in and he can go get the ball. Even when he is coated, he can nonetheless make a catch. Simply throw it up over his head.”

Historical past says Bryant might play a pivotal function in getting Baltimore (6-5) again within the playoff hunt in opposition to the Cowboys Tuesday evening.

The final thrice a workforce’s all-time chief in landing catches performed in opposition to them for the primary time, that participant went on to file not less than one landing reception, in line with Elias Sports activities Bureau analysis. In all three of these cases, the participant’s new workforce additionally went on to win.

“Yeah, you guys are simply seeing a glimpse,” Robinson mentioned. “As soon as he totally will get on the identical web page with Lamar and so they begin wanting extra for him on the purple zone [and] on deeper passing routes, I undoubtedly assume he’s going to emerge as their go-to receiver.”

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